Viewpoints address the climate crisis, provide wish list for county waters
Bridging the climate crisis
When I think of the partisan divide that prevents us from addressing the climate crisis, I like to look to history for inspiration and stories of successes that helped change the world. How have we built bridges in the past? How can we come together and work for the common good—a livable world for us all? One of my favorite examples is an event in 1986 for the purpose of raising awareness and money to fight hunger and homelessness in America. (The participation fee was about $10.) It was called “Hands Across America.” On May 25, over five million people came together joining hands for 15 minutes, making a human chain that reached from New York to California, a 4,125-mile route! To me, that is an incredible feat that literally “built a bridge,” uniting us from sea to sea.
Can we do the same with the climate crisis? Can we reach across the aisle, transcend the politics, and find common ground and common values? I believe we can. It comes in the form of legislation, H.R. 7173, the “Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act” that was recently co-sponsored by three Republicans and five Democrats. The most appealing feature of this bill is the carbon dividend that is rebated to all American households equally in the form of a monthly check. (The money for this carbon dividend comes from a fee on carbon pollution from burning fossils fuels.) The carbon dividend will protect the incomes of lower-and middle-income families by putting money in their pockets to offset rising energy costs–often with money left over to spend as they wish. Other positive aspects of this bill: it is bipartisan; it is simple and effective, reducing our carbon emissions by 40 percent in 12 years; it is good for health and saves lives by reducing air pollution; it will add 2.1 million jobs over the next 10 years as we transition to a clean energy economy; it will spur the innovation and development of renewable energy and low-carbon products that give consumers greener options; and there is a border carbon adjustment fee to protect American jobs and encourage other countries to enact their own price on carbon. To learn more about the “Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act”, visit energyinnovationact.org.
If you want to take action for a livable world, join hands and build the bridge that will turn our climate crisis around. Write or call your Senators and Representative and ask them to support “H.R.7173, Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act.”
Linda Herscher, Birchwood
Christmas wish list for Oneida County waters
’Tis the season for reflection and giving. In that spirit, the Oneida County Lakes and Rivers Association presents this wish list of the greatest gifts to the waters of our county – the backbone of a multi-million tourism economy and a treasure for residents and visitors.
1. Enact an ordinance governing concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) to protect our waters from the disasters seen all over Wisconsin and elsewhere. It’s not difficult: Simply use the Bayfield County ordinance as a model and take action – before we face CAFO problems we lack authority to control.
2. Fix our inadequate mining ordinance. The current ordinance was written in haste under a state-imposed deadline. Now there is time to correct its deficiencies. We have proposed more than a dozen fixes that would protect communities from adverse impacts, ensure that the county derives the optimum economic benefit from any mine and – most critical – safeguards our waters.
3. Heed the 62 percent of Oneida County voters – in a record turnout election – who said “no” to the leasing of county forest land for mining in the town of Lynne near the Willow Flowage. It’s time to go on the record and ensure that the voters’ intent is respected in county board decisions on mining.
4. Continue a strong program to control aquatic invasive species and keep new species from getting a foothold in Oneida County waters. Education is essential, and so are concrete actions, such as stepped up watercraft inspections.
5. Improve the county shoreline zoning ordinance, which has been progressively weakened by state-imposed limits on local control and does not adequately protect our waters from unwise development. The county must diligently enforce the ordinance provisions, explore further protective measures, and proactively educate property owners to “Do the Right Thing” (http://www.oclra.org/do-the-right-thing.html) – before lake quality reaches a tipping point and repair is impossible.
6. Promote public access and enjoyment of our waters. Positive experiences with water resources lead to a better economy, better health, and a willingness to protect our water assets.
These are truly gifts that keep on giving – for generations to come. They can help protect our waters, improve our tourism economy, and ensure a secure future for people who have chosen to live and invest in Oneida County.
OCLRA Board of Directors, Bob Martini, President